What You Need to Know About Mold: From Mold Inspection to Mold Prevention

We need mold—who doesn’t like cheese and mushrooms? But too much of the wrong kind of mold spells trouble.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,[1] indoor exposure to mold is linked to a host of health effects. For those with a mold sensitivity, nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, and eye and skin irritation. And worsened asthma symptoms for asthmatics.

Plus, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found limited or suggestive evidence connecting indoor mold exposure with respiratory illnesses in otherwise healthy children.[2]

Alarming stuff.

In this article, we discuss with you what mold is and how it gets into our homes, as well as the common places for mold to breed, how to prevent indoor mold, and why a mold inspection is needed.

What is it and how does it get inside?

Mold is a type of fungus that sprouts out from microscopic spores, which float in the air. Yes, mold is airborne.[3]

It can enter our homes via open doorways, windows, and vents, as well as through the heating and air conditioning systems.

Mold also attaches to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets while outside. And then finds its ways indoors when you or your furry friend go inside.

What you need to know is that mold spores may come inside your home, but it needs moisture in order to thrive—aka leaky roof, windows, pipes, and flooring.

It also grows on paper products like cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wooden products.

In addition to dust, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, upholstery, and paints.

Of course, you need these products and surfaces to contain moisture in order for mold to really flourish.

Common types

Mildew is quite common. It’s on the surfaces of damp walls, showers, doors, and grouting. It looks like tiny black spots.

Aspergillus is a common type of mold, mainly found in foods and air conditioners, and can trigger allergy flare-ups.

Cladosporium is a nontoxic mold, located on the backs of toilets, painted surfaces, and fiberglass air ducts. It has a black or green pepper-like look. It too can trigger allergies such as red and watery eyes and sore throats.

 Stachybotrys, dubbed “black mold,” is toxic and dangerous. It grows on drywall, carpet, insulation, and sub-flooring exposed to moisture.

This type of mold is the main reason why you need professionals to conduct a mold inspection and, if spotted, have it removed immediately.

Other types of mold include outdoor molds, which are slimy and can be orange and red in color. They feed on decaying plants and moist wood. These kinds of molds generally are harmless and usually are removed for aesthetic reasons.

White mold isn’t actually a mold, but will be if left untreated. It’s in the early stages of growth and is easy to treat.

 How to tell if there’s mold in your home

You can spot mold by its specific look and smell. If you begin to smell a musty odor and notice dampness—especially damp walls, carpets, flooring, pretty much any damp surface—chances are, you have some mold.

You may also notice it by its spotty colored pattern along the infested material.

Though the specific type and size of the infestation varies.

Now that you found mold, what do you do?

Do not, we repeat, do not try to get the mold off yourself.

Don’t touch it. Don’t go near it. Just leave it alone and call professionals for a mold inspection and mold remediation and removal services.

Just like with water damage, mold removal is not a DIY project.

The thing is, it is easy for mold to spread. While you may clean up some of it, you may also be transferring it to another part of your home, which will just make the problem worse.

Health hazard

Not to mention, your typical household bleach can’t remove black mold (if you have this type of mold).

Plus, mold's a health hazard. Especially when it comes to younger and older family members, it has serious health effects. Messing with it may only exacerbate the problem, putting more risk on their health.

Let the professionals do a mold inspection

Also, you don’t know what kind of mold you’re dealing with. In-store mold inspection kits can be unreliable. And even if one does provide you with an accurate mold reading, professionals have the training, credentials, and resources to wipe the mold out entirely.

Buying your own products to remove the fungus may actually end up costing you more money than initially calling mold remediation and removal professionals.

So, when you suspect mold, number one—call a professional. And number two—wait, and don’t do anything to the mold.

If the professionals can’t come and conduct a mold inspection that day, you may want to consider sleeping somewhere else for the night. If you can’t, try to limit your indoor activities in your house until the professionals arrive and assess the situation.

Prevention methods

So, the mold is out of your house—how do you prevent another infestation?

Control humidity levels

Mold loves high humidity. Combine that with moisture, and it’s a mold paradise.

For that reason, control the humidity levels in your house via your air conditioner and humidifier. The humidity level should be no higher than 50%.[4] Since it fluctuates daily, you may need to adjust the air conditioner and humidifier periodically throughout the day.

Fix leaks

Also, fix leaks immediately after you notice them. Not only could they raise your water bill, but lead to a mold infestation as well.

Dry wet surfaces

Clean and dry floors. Don’t let water sit on them. This goes for other surfaces too. If you used soap and water to clean something up, make sure you dry it.

Flash flooding

If you do experience flash flooding, clean up and dry your house within 24-48 hours. Even then, it’s recommended to call water damage restoration professionals to make sure there’s no water damage or mold.

No carpet in bathrooms or basements

And, lastly, don’t put carpeting in the bathrooms or basement. These rooms receive a lot of moisture and mold loves carpeting and moisture.

Did this help? Let us know!

Also, if you believe your home has mold or water damage, or have questions concerning mold, mold inspection, and mold prevention, call us. We’d love to provide you with assistance.

 

______________________

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Mold and Dampness

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Mold and Dampness

[3] HGTV: What is Mold?

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Mold and Dampness

Leave a comment